Saint Seiya Review


Saint Seiya is a very well known series. To call it a legendary title would actually be pretty accurate. It was effectively the DBZ before that title actually came out. It’s got a ton of quality action and solid characters. While the show is a little more formulaic than most with each arc following a lot of similar beats, the anime adds a new arc which really changes things up. it’s an example of a filler arc that’s actually pretty solid. (Still the weakest arc in the series but solid nonetheless. You’d never know it was an anime original) I’ve had this review on the backburner for an extremely long time so it’s time to finally take a look at it.

The series starts by introducing us to Seiya. He’s an orphan who grew up in a rather tough place. One day he was sent out along with a few others to different parts of the globe to train to be a Saint of Athena. Seiya has no interest in this but he was told that doing so and obtaining the Bronze Cloth (Proof of conquering the Saint trials) would be the only way he could ever see his missing sister again. So Seiya has conquered this task and arrives back home where the agreement has been changed. He will have to win a tournament against the other bronze candidates now. Well, Seiya’s up for the challenge because nothing will stop him from finding his sister.

This was a really great way to start the series. After all, who doesn’t like a good tournament right? It’s always a solid way to set up the characters and let us learn about them. It also weeds out the rest of the Bronze Saints who would never really be main characters after this. Only the main 5 would continue on. I thought Unicorn left more of an impression on me in the anime than the manga though. I liked his rivalry with Seiya here even if he would ultimately be out of luck early on. Seiya just surpassed him by a ton and never looked back.

Additionally we then got to see the Dark Saints and that was a really fun arc as everyone fought their shadow selves. One thing I greatly enjoyed was seeing the characters actually fighting out in the real world here. One fight was on the highway for example. While that may not seem like a big thing, you’ll never see that for the rest of the series. All other battles take place in enemy territory or at Athena’s home. I suppose there was no reason to fight in the city after that but I always get really excited when it happens. I find the city environment to be the perfect backdrop to a fight.

We are introduced to quite a lot of the characters in this arc. First off lets talk about Athena I suppose. She is effectively a lady who has been imbued with Athena’s spirit and has effectively become her as Athena is born again in every generation. She has one of the highest cosmos (Power level) in the series but for the most part can’t use it in an offensive context. She is great at using it for defense and healing though. I’d say she’s a solid character but I do think she allows far too much corruption to occur at home.

For example, her butler Tatsumi gets away with absolutely everything. We see that he would actually beat up the Saints when they were kids and in particular he really would beat up Ikki. At the time it was Athena’s father running the show but the all knowing Athena should have certainly let him go after that. This is mostly a comedic plot later on with the Saints messing with him, but Tatsumi never actually changed his ways. They just became stronger than him. In some ways I feel like Tatsumi was the real villain behind all of this. Athena is a good character otherwise but I do wish that she would fight more. For example, instead of jumping into the water chamber to stop Poseidon I’d prefer if she called in the Knights to assist. With all of the Golden Saints they would have beaten Poseidon’s generals with ease.

Seiya is of course a great hero. He never really wanted to be a part of this but when Athena is in danger he steps in. At his core Seiya is a hero of course so he can’t just leave someone behind if they’re in trouble. He’s also a lot more hot headed than some of the other characters and is quite willing to invade any territory to help Athena. While the Gold Knights are just holding back and staying at the castle Seiya is actually jumping in to take center stage. From all of the Knights he may be the quickest to jump into action and his dedication is rewarded time after time with his power ups and the fact that he surpasses most of the characters right away. His fighting style is the most basic and yet because of that he can move with so much speed and power that it is hard to stop.

Next up we have Shiryu and he solidly represents the third most powerful Bronze Knight. Every good Shounen series always has a guy in the solid third place. You’ve always got the main character and the rival, but then you also need the dependable third in command who stays near the top of the power scale to the end. That’s Shiryu’s role and it’s a painful one because the show really liked to put him through the ringer. He’s a fairly solid character though. All of his scenes are definitely on point and his Shield is probably one of the most impressive equipment items in the whole series. While it isn’t 100% completely indestructible, it is still durable enough to block almost any blow and gets him through most of his fights.

Shiryu also works as the voice of reason a lot of the time. He isn’t quite as headstrong as some of the others. Next is Hyoga who can be one of the meaner saints at times. He never actually turns evil like Ikki though but takes the whole thing very seriously. His Diamon Dust technique is certainly a classic and he holds up with the rest of the Saints pretty well if you ask me. I probably wouldn’t put him quite above the others power-wise (Aside from Andromeda) but he’s got a good amount of skill. I like all of the Bronze Saints and Hyoga is no exception. He’s a solid hero who is always ready to step up.

Then you have Ikki who is easily my favorite Saint. I would argue he is also the most powerful one. He can keep on coming back to life forever thanks to the regenerative abilities of the Phoenix cloth. That’s an incredibly useful ability to have at your disposal and it really sets him apart from the rest of the characters. What can you do against a character who just keeps regenerating like that right? Ikki did have a period of time where he turned evil but he did have to go through a whole lot of craziness so you can see how it happened. From there he would end up being the most dependable character on the squad. Whenever his brother Andromeda is in danger you can count on Ikki to jump in immediately and start saving lives. It’s just what he does and he makes it look easy.

Finally we have Andromeda and he’s probably the weakest of the Saints. He’s one of those characters with a ton of potential but ultimately doesn’t like fighting so it takes him a while to actually get serious You can draw up a lot of parallels with him and Gohan from DBZ. Andromeda does have one of the best weapons in the series though with the Chains he carries. They can follow an opponent across whole planets and even into other dimensions. They automatically protect him from harm and attack on their own as well. It’s a very versatile weapon to be sure and as Andromeda grows stronger, the chains will as well.

Then we have the two Silver Saints Marin and Shaina. Both of them are pretty helpful characters who assist the Bronze Saints in times of great peril. They’re both reasonably tough although I would definitely take Shaina in a head to head battle. She’s much fiercer in combat and has beaten Marin in the past. Both of them have to hide a lot of secrets and appear to switch sides a lot as a result. I never became a big fan of Marin but Shaina was always fun. She was definitely willing to risk her life quite a bit to help Seiya out of a pinch.

The next big arc is the famous Gold Saints saga. It’s an incredibly long one and deserves the praise as it really took the series to a new level. Well, after some Silver Saints showed up to cause trouble and were thwarted, Athena was struck by an arrow. The only way to keep the arrow from claiming her life is to get to the top of Sanctuary and turn the shield monument. To do so the heroes will have to get past the 12 Golden Saint temples. Each Golden Saint is thousands of times stronger than the bronze ones and their armors have been created to effectively be indestructible. Attacks simply bounce off of them or get absorbed entirely. The heroes also have a time limit of 12 hours so they can’t afford to waste time. Can they surpass their limits and save Athena?

This arc’s just a blast. Seeing the heroes have to go into the temples and take down the Gold Saints is just incredible. You can feel the tension in each match particularly as the heroes are completely outmatched each time. Each of the Golden Saints are far more powerful and faster than the Bronze ones. Their armor is better as well so all of the advantages are at their disposal. It means you can prepare for a lot of good heroic speeches from the Bronze Saints as they call these guys out and dredge up their inner power.

The Golden Saints do deserve to be called out because they all either get played for fools or just make the wrong decision. I couldn’t call almost any of them heroes to be honest. I would just say that about Aiolos because he was willing to stand up to the other Golden Saints to save Athena and stop the Pope’s evil plans. Nobody else tried helping, in fact they actively tried to fight him off. Others simply ran off never to be heard from again. So Aiolos is easily the best Golden Saint and it isn’t even close. The rest of them should probably have renounced their titles after this arc was over.

Aries doesn’t play a big role in this arc as he is one of the Golden Saints who decides not to interfere anymore. He prefers to just watch over everything without picking a side. I’ll remind you that choosing not to pick a side is actually choosing one anyway. As a result this guy’s definitely one of my least favorite Saints. He is not someone you can count on and could have helped the Bronze Saints so many times but chose not to. As a result I’d think of him more as a villain if anything. Particularly since he actively threatens anyone who says they are going to help. Definitely a very poor character I must say.

Taurus is the first true Knight to take on the Bronze Saints so he looks really good but we can probably say he’s the weakest one around. He’s a very direct guy who has an honor code and just lets his fists do the talking. He seems like a Saint who can at least be reasoned with so I’ll give him some respect there. He’s a fun guy so it would just be nice if he could fight a little more. I suppose at this stage it is relative though because there’s no shame in being a little weaker than his fellow Gold Saints since those guys are so powerful as it is.

Gemini Saga has a huge role to be sure. He’s a critical part of the Sanctuary arc and makes his presence felt at all times. I would put him as the strongest Golden Knight. I think there is a case to be made that Virgo or Aiolos could take him on 1 on 1 but it would definitely be a great fight either way. I’m a big fan of this guy for sure. He’s definitely dealing with a lot of issues and you can probably guess based on what sign he represents what is going on here. His Galaxian Explosion technique is also famous. It’s sort of like how Sephiroth blows up the solar system in his cutscene. Gemini Saga has an attack that’s like a galaxy crushing into you. It definitely looks cool and his “Another Dimension” ability definitely deserves some praise as well.

Virgo Shaka is low key one of the most evil Saints around though. He knows exactly what was going on the whole time and chose not to do so. He seems to think that he is above good and evil and that’s exactly why you can’t trust him. When someone gets such an inflated opinion of himself it can be quite dangerous. Virgo is basically saying that anything he does is justified. I’ll give him props for being able to fight so well with his eyes closed though. He is undoubtedly powerful. It’s just a shame that he always picks the wrong side. I’d have to list him as a villain here.

Deathmask is an interesting Golden Saint because he is the only member who is downright evil 100% through. He really couldn’t care less about fighting for justice and actively goes around murdering people. It’s a shame that the other Saints allow this…. I was not expecting one of the Saints to be truly evil back when I first read the manga though so that was interesting. He makes for a pretty intense villain to be sure but definitely not a particularly likable character.

Aiolia is a fun Saint and as one of the most heroic ones that naturally means that he has to be mind controlled so he can fight the heroes. Without that there’s no way he would have gone to blows. He did really well even while mind controlled so at full power he should definitely be one of the most powerful Golden Saints. He actually acts like a true warrior worthy of his position so he is definitely one of the best knights around. You can’t go wrong with this guy.

Scorpio is one of the more vengeful Seiya characters. Due to a big misunderstanding he thought he was fufilling the will of Sanctuary. For that reason I’ll give him a little credit as he was at least trying to protect Athena in his own way. It just didn’t work out the way that he thought it would. His abilities are definitely pretty good. I wouldn’t say he stands out as much as some of the other characters but he’s a well developed character all the same. Then we have Shura who has some of the most impressive scenes in the series. He can strike with his fast energy blows in the blink of an eye. Most of the characters can’t even keep up with him and even Shiryu’s defense couldn’t hold his power. Shura was very impressive throughout the series and is one of the best members of Sanctuary. He’s at least one Knight who acted quite heroically in the end.

Next up is Camus He’s an ice user and has some history with Hyoga’s mentor so this naturally ends up making them rivals. Camus is a pretty interesting member. He seems to be one of the most senior Saint members so he doesn’t blindly take orders like some of the others. He even voluntarily leaves his temple to seek out a fight which was pretty neat. I liked him, Camus may not have been one of the most reasonable guys and his methods are rather drastic but he’s a solid fighter and at least his motivations did make a lot of sense.

Finally we have Aphrodite, but this guy wasn’t particularly noteworthy. His fighting abilities are good and the rose based abilities are neat but compared to the rest he felt tacked on to an extent. I don’t believe he ever gets a big role after this. I’ll take him over Aries any day though. At least this guy stays by his temple and actually contributes to the plot instead of waiting for it to come to him. I should also mention that Dohko appears but that guy annoys me as well. He basically hides from the fight and chooses to pretend to be an old man so that he does not need to get mixed up in any of the action. Not exactly the heroic nature you would expect from a Saint now is it?

It was always going to be tough to follow up such a masterful arc but the Asgard arc would try its best. In the remote land of Asgard, Queen Hilda has been corrupted by an evil influence. She summons her God Warriors to prepare for a war on the human world and even attacks Sanctuary. This forces the hand of Athena and the Knights who show up to stop them. Athena can hold back the ice and water for a while but not forever. The Saints must now defeat all of the God Warriors and take down Hilda before Athena perishes. This will be difficult as each of the God Warriors are as powerful as a Golden Saint! The Bronze Knights will have to once again surpass their limits and claim victory.

One nice thing about this arc is that as an original one it could deviate from the usual Saint Seiya script a bit. As a result we actually got some group fights and even Athena got to very briefly show what she could do offensively. The God Warriors were also introduced well so you could see why they were a threat. The only thing holding it back is that this arc introduced some animal violence which the other arcs had been good about. One sob story involves some bears and of course Fenrir uses a lot of wolves at his disposal. What’s even the point of using wolves against a Saint of Athena anyway? I think everyone knew that Shiryu would take them out yet Fenrir acts surprised and even gets super upset with Shiryu for doing that. He only has himself to blame for making such a poor decision in the heat of battle.

Hilda is one of the big players here and she works well as a foil to Athena. Effectively she is an evil version of the goddess and she actually fights from time to time which is pretty neat. She’s a lot more interesting than her sister Freya who doesn’t really fight and just pleads with Hilda to stop the madness all the time. I think it’s safe to say that there was never such an option once Hilda had been corrupted. I would have liked to have seen Freya fight a bit.

Siegfried is effectively the leader of the God Warriors and he is naturally the strongest member. His fight at the end against all of the Saints is definitely a blast. In particular he has a really good fight with Ikki before Seiya eventually steps in to have his tur at back. Siegfried definitely made a few wrong calls near the end of the arc that had me shaking my head but otherwise I did like the guy. His final scenes are also on point as he contributes and takes on one of the future villains. I should mention that the ending of this arc directly connects to the Poseidon arc which I thought was a really cool twist. It was like a sneak preview of what was to come.

Hagen is the lava warrior. He’s a good friend of Freya but I have to say that he was completely unreasonable the whole time. He was given so many chances to stop and keep his life but he just kept on going. It makes it a little harder to feel bad for this guy. I did like him in the flashbacks though. In the present he just wasn’t smart. Meanwhile Thor’s more of a fun fighter. All of the God Warriors have tragic pasts to an extent but Thor’s really just here to fight and take the Saints down. His battle with Seiya is a lot of fun and man, Thor’s huge! Probably the biggest fighter in the series, taking him down wasn’t easy.

Alberich may not have been the strongest member of the God Warriors but he got the most done. If he had any real backup then that would have been game over for the team. What I like about this guy is how cunning he was. He’s got a lot of big ideas even outside of working for Hilda. He takes down almost all of the Saints back to back which is absolutely crazy. It’s really just lucky that he didn’t finish them all. He has a lot of cool abilities and absolute confidence. I would definitely say he’s my favorite villain of this arc and it was sad to see him go.

Meanwhile Fenrir is the worst member. I already spoke about the wolves so I’ll keep this brief. He just failed as a pet owner here and didn’t even realize that it was his fault and started blaming Shiryu instead. You can’t do that, he needed to at least own up to his mistakes and that would have gone a long way. He brought the worst fight of the series in so I could have done without this guy. Even for Saint Seiya standards the fight was one sided too. Am I really supposed to believe that Shiryu could get up after the injuries he sustained? The guy was getting beaten up, bit, and stabbed for whole episodes and then managed to get up. I dunno about that one, but it’s a great durability feat for Shiryu that’s for sure.

Then we have Syd and Bud who are effectively two sides of the same coin. I liked the dynamic here as it was sort of like Gemini Saga only they weren’t quite as aware of each other as Saga was at all times. It also explains why Taurus lost so easily or at least partially. I still don’t see Taurus going down like that. As a Golden Knight of Athena you have to be able to take a few hits and keep on going. They did give us some of the better episodes with the battles involving Ikki and Andromeda though.

Finally we have Mime who had a pretty emotional fight with Ikki. There were quite a few plot twists in that battle to be sure as Ikki kept showing the guy more of his own past in a way to force him to see the truth. I should mention that Ikki’s ability to mess with a person’s mind is pretty impressive. Mime’s a solid villain either way though. I wouldn’t say he’s one of the absolute best but he did well in his appearances.

So the Asgard arc had a lot of great moments. It easily would have passed the Poseidon arc if not for the various animal backstories. I liked that we got more freestyle fights here and I also thought the initial attack as the Asgardians approached Sanctuary was cool. This arc did feel like it was stepping up the intensity at all times and the villains were developed very well. It’s just a solid arc through and through.

Finally we end with the Poseidon arc. While attending a fancy party, Athena is approached by a man of great renown. He is the reincarnated vessel of Poseidon and he has decided to flood the entire planet. Athena pleads with him to stop but he will only do so if she marries him. Athena refuses and offers her one chance to slow the flooding down. To do this, Athena will go inside of a locked chamber where the water will drown her. This will keep the Earth from flooding for as long as she lives. The Bronze Knights will have to defeat all of Atlantis’s powerful Generals in order to break the pillars down and rescue Athena. The issue is that the generals are around Gold Saint level in power. Can the Bronze Knights surpass their limits one last time in order to save her?

Poseidon’s cronies all have a whole lot of confidence and I suppose it’s easy to see why. They are very powerful and did manipulate Asgard into getting destroyed with ease. With Sanctuary weakened as well this is the perfect time to strike. The arc also gave us one of the better Saint Seiya bonding moments as Ikki explained to Hyoga that they’re never allowed to give up while they fight for Athena. The other characters thought it was harsh at the time but Hyoga explained that Ikki was right. It also gave Ikki some time to shine as he went straight for Poseidon instead of bothering with the minions. I always liked that guy’s confidence.

Poseidon is the big bad here and he’s probably the weakest leader villain. Mainly that’s because part of his motivation here is just to marry Athena. Not quite the villain mastermind goal you would really want to see from this guy. He can fight decently well thanks to the powers of Poseidon but the human host isn’t super skilled so he really has to rely on the power as a crutch. The arc as a whole is still excellent but I definitely wouldn’t say that Poseidon is a big reason why. Thetis a loyal minion and the first one to really get a role here. She’s around Silver Saint level so this gave the Sanctuary Silver Knight a chance for a real fight. Beyond that Thetis is reasonable but doesn’t stand out a huge amount.

Baian probably has the least amount of character from Poseidon’s warriors but he has a ton of confidence which is all that I need. His punches are insane to the point where he can knock you across an ocean. He’s very simple, no gimmicks and no tricks. Baian just takes you on face to face and I can appreciate that. Io was cool because of his attacks more than because of his character. Each of his attacks is based on a different animal and it can be tough to predict which one he will use next. It was a good fight with Andromeda and the guy was pushed to his absolute limit in trying to counter each move. Without the animal skills though, Io would definitely be out of luck so he needs to work on his fundamentals more.

Krishna was a fun member of Poseidon’s army. His unstoppable spear was an excellent match to Shiryu’s indestructible shield. Their battle was very solid to be sure. At the end of the day Krishna’s not the kind of guy who’s going to back down in a fight like this so naturally it went all the way down the wire. Caca is more of a deceptive villain. His physical abilities aren’t amazing but he can shapeshift which makes it difficult for the heroes to really go all out against him. It makes sense that he wouldn’t fare quite so well with Ikki though. His fights are always a bit sketchy because you do feel like the heroes shouldn’t take it so hard. He does a number on pretty much the whole cast though so while I’m not a big fan of the guy…he definitely gets results.

Isaac was a very interesting figure. I do find it a bit hard to believe that we had someone who was important to Hyoga’s childhood but wasn’t even referenced earlier. This is one time where some advanced foreshadowing would have been good. The guy was excellent in the flashbacks we see of him though. He is put into a very difficult situation in the present but did as well as he could have. If things could have been different then maybe he would have really been a good ally. Then we have Sorrento who is such a major player that he even appeared in the Asgard arc earlier as a preview. His playing on the flute makes him a tough enemy to deal with to be sure. I’m not really sold on the guy though. He’s decently good but I wouldn’t call him a standout character either.

When Kanon appears he definitely changes everything quite a bit. He’s certainly got big ambitions and it was really nostalgic in a sense seeing him since he’s so similar to Saga. At the end of the day I prefer Gemini Saga but both of these guys are really close and also evenly matched so you can imagine some pretty good battles behind them. He feels like he wasn’t 100% needed in the arc but he adds an extra level of drama to be sure. He’s a wild card that nobody can trust so that’s always interesting to see.

So as mentioned earlier and you can probably tell from the plot descriptions, most of the arcs have that same format. Athena is always at death’s door and the only way to save her is to defeat a specified number of enemies within a restricted time. The Hades arc would actually change this up quite a bit but that’s really the plot for every other arc of Saint Seiya. In a lot of ways it reminds me of the classic Justice League stories from around half a century ago or older where each story would be divided into 4-5 parts and they would all follow the same format with new villains. I suppose repetition may have been encouraged back in the day to show consistency or something. It’s purely conjecture as I don’t know.

Regardless, I’m fine with the arcs having the same format because at the end of the day it’s the execution that is truly important. Each arc is handled really well and the fights are always excellent. Saint Seiya is a series where the action and characters are super important. So long as those areas continue to be strong then the show succeeds. There’s always a great sense of heroism and self sacrifice among the knights. They’re heroes through and through and it makes each fight compelling.

I do have big issues with the Gold Saints at large though. In the first arc I guess I can accept the fact that most of them were following the Pope over Athena since they figured he was telling the truth. Well, not all of them can use that excuse since some knew better and didn’t act. There is 0 reason not to jump in during both the Asgard and Poseidon arcs though. They stand idly by while Athena and co. are in danger. Their entire job is to protect Athena. That’s the number 1 priority even over Sanctuary and yet they never actually act. I’ll give Aiolia some credit for at least assisting by sending his armor in the Poseidon arc but the rest of the characters should have done something. I’ll never be able to come to terms with the fact that the Gold Saints just leave Athena to her own devices each time. Perhaps some of them still hold a grudge against her for the events of Arc 1.

The animation is also very solid. It’s got that classic look and feel to the old days of Shounen. You really feel each and every blow. The heroes are put through the wringer time and time again. I dare say that few main characters have endured the same level of abuse and punishment as the Bronze Saints. Every arc ends up having them beaten to an inch of their lives repeatedly with each battle. In particular Dragon Shiryu takes the brunt of this. His fights tend to rage on for a long time with him taking every bit of punishment possible. At the end of the day though the Saints always get back up and it’s pretty inspiring.

The soundtrack is also good although I wouldn’t call it stellar or anything. The soundtrack as a whole seems a little limited considering how long the show is. That said, the main battle theme is sound though and I never had a problem with the music while watching the show. The songs match the scene in question really well so they did a good job of making sure that things were pairing up nicely.

Overall, Saint Seiya is a timeless classic. It’s aged really well and I expect that this will still be true 20 years from now. This anime doesn’t adapt the Hades saga but it covers the rest of the manga and is a great starting point for fans. The franchise has definitely expanded quite a bit since these original days and I look forward to seeing how the sequels fare someday. The show can be pretty intense so you may be surprised when starting it how badly the heroes get beaten but it’s all in a combat context and never gets too crazy. I’d say that anyone who enjoys a good action anime will definitely like the series. It’s just a blast. Between the strong writing and solid pacing, you’re bound to love the series.

Overall 8/10

Saint Seiya: Shining Soldiers Review


It’s time to look at a recent mobile game that I downloaded. Saint Seiya always looked like it would be another fun installment and I remember seeing a few articles about it. Mobile games are definitely on the rise as of late and it’s nice to see that the quality has stayed consistently high as well. I think that’s usually a pretty tough trick but with how profitable these games tend to be it makes sense to craft them really well. This is another great mobile game that will only get better with time.

When you launch the game be prepared for around 20 tutorials. It’s hard to keep track of all the information so I would usually head to Reddit if I want to know more. The game does its best not to be too overwhelming and I would say that the menu layouts are pretty solid. For a gatcha game like this you can only simplify it so much after all. You get free items every day which is always cool and it’s like a daily routine to start with. You then have an energy meter so you can play a bunch of matches and modes until you run out. You never have to worry about running out when playing levels for the first time though because they will recharge your meter automatically. This only comes into play when doing re-runs.

There are a ton of modes here of course. One of the big ones is online but I don’t recommend going there until you’ve played offline for a while and leveled up your characters. I’ve done pretty well for myself in most PVP options for these games but in Saint Seiya mine were too low level to bother with it so I skipped out on that part this time. You can also summon new characters with jewels or play through the story mode. As with most mobile games the story will be getting new chapters periodically. Surprisingly the story is very short at the moment. I cleared all of the levels in under 3 hours which is pretty much unheard of for a mobile title. Usually you launch with a ton of them. Just look at Seven Deadly Sins which had over 10 hours of story content at launch. Saint Seiya can learn a thing or two from that one.

Interestingly rather than go chronologically the game starts every arc with a few battles. The Golden Saints arc goes up to Ikki vs Shaka while the others all just have the opening fights. The Hades arc is another exception as it jumps right to Kanon vs the 3 Generals. It’s an interesting approach but there should have been way more story levels if you ask me. Then you have the temporary specials so you want to play those levels before they’re gone. There is one for Cassios and one for Mu. Most Gatcha games follow the same trends and this one is no exception. Since I played a lot of Dragon Ball Legends back in the day it was all pretty formidable.

The gameplay is a 3 vs 3 battle with 1 v 1 fights at a time. It’s similar to Pokemon so you want to switch out if you’re in a bad match up. You then choose your attack and the last team standing wins. The gameplay is very smooth and the attacks look quite solid. The graphics in general are definitely top tier here. The armors really stand out and everything feels high end and fresh. You couldn’t tell that this is a mobile game and that’s been true for so many lately that there almost isn’t even a point in saying so anymore. It’s just how it is at this point and that’s a good state for the games to be in.

The soundtrack is very limited, but effective. The opening theme is the old theme song which is really good because that one has aged quite well. During the cutscenes we have a nice danger theme and the music during the gameplay is solid. You won’t hear a lot more than that, but each theme is quite solid so the limited variety doesn’t really end up hurting you. You’re having too much fun with the gameplay to worry about it.

So my only issue with the game is the length, but unlike ARMS we have a lot of different modes to enjoy here. You can jump online as I mentioned or play in one of the many events. You will need to spend a lot of time upgrading your characters as well and grabbing materials. It can get very time consuming to build the perfect team and with new characters being added constantly you can’t really take a break. One thing about these kinds of games is that they are long term commitments if you want to be the best online. If the offline content is all you care about then you don’t need to worry so much as those battles rarely get all that difficult. In DB Legends it took a long time and tons of chapters to get to the point where you really needed to try.

Overall, Shining Soldiers is a great title. If you’ve got some time and want a good action packed mobile title then this is the one for you. It looks like it’ll be doing a good job of adapting the whole Saint Seiya series and it’s always nice to see Aiolos show up since the guy never got much of a role in the actual series. You’ll best enjoy the game if you’re not playing another Gatcha title right now. I’ve noticed that it’s always tough to balance more than one of them in part because they all tend to be the same game just repackaged a bit. Shining Soldiers can hold its own blow for blow with any of the others though.

Overall 8/10

Saint Seiya: Shining Soldiers Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 2h 24m
User Level 2
Characters 17/48

Chronicle Stats

12 Gold Palaces 65% Complete
N. Europe Asgard 55% Complete
Sea God Poseidon 50% Complete
Dark Lord Hades 76% Complete

Character Stats

Seiya First Cloth Level 1
Ikki First Cloth Level 1
Seiya First Cloth Green Level 1
Thor Level 1
Ikki first cloth Level 1
Shun First cloth Level 1
Hyoga First cloth level 1
Shiryu first cloth level 1
Shiryu first cloth red level 1
Cassios Level 1
Aiolos Level 28
Virgo Shaka Level 46
Ikki first cloth red Level 50
Shun First cloth blue level 4
Hyoga blue first cloth level 15
Shiryu green first cloth level 50
Seiya red first cloth level 16

Saint Seiya Soldier’s Soul Stats and Records

Stats time!

PS3 Trophy% 23%
Play Time 13h 8m
Collection 46%
Gold 39570
Characters Unlocked 66/72
Challenges Cleared 66/110
S Ranks 40/49
Battle of Gold Win Rate 79%
Survival Challenges Cleared 25
High Score 23100
Galaxy War Bronze Cup Victories 2
Total Cosmo 769672
Costumes 90/144
Titles 196/435
Assist Phrases 50/169
Record 170-3
Regular Hits 2924
Strong Hits 427
Long Range Hits 54
Guards 505
Guard Breaks 30
Break Falls 90
Throws 144
Throw Escapes 1
Burst Dashes 0
Burst Hits 0
Cosmo Charges 61
Special Moves 620
Lightspeed Moves 148
Seventh Sense Awakenings 0
Big Bang Attack Hits 50

Saint Seiya Soldier’s Soul Review


It’s time for a cool fighting game that didn’t get a US retail release, but luckily there are other English speaking areas around so we can always count on them for backup. Between the great story, graphics, and gameplay, there is a lot to love in this game and not a whole lot to dislike. There is a lot to do here so it completely justifies any price that you may have purchased it for. Even if you are not familiar with Saint Seiya before this, the game walks you through just about the whole series.

All right, lets launch into this. The main Story Mode covers the 3 big arcs from the manga as well as one from the anime. You play as Seiya and the other Bronze Knights as they take down many foes who appear before them and work to protect Queen Athena. They go to the depths of Hades, to the beyond of Atlantis, and even to Olympus to protect their queen. The heroes die a lot and go through many trials, but they always get back up. That’s the true skills of warriors like these. It’s easy to see why people consider this to be a classic version of DBZ. Each chapter in Story Mode has between 11 and 20 battles and most of those battles are a best of 3 or even best of 5 once in a while. You’ll also have some levels that are just cutscenes so those are fairly easy. I believe that there are 49 levels total by the way.

Getting all S ranks is actually fairly easy this time around. That shouldn’t give you a lot of trouble, but completing all of the bonus requirements before a battle will be fairly difficult. Some of them involve doing long combos or blocking a lot. It won’t take an extreme amount of grinding to obtain though. If you want the Platinum trophy, most of your grinding will be in gathering titles and obtaining money. You have to buy just about everything in this game and money isn’t extremely lucrative. Still, that’s why it’s good that this game has very smooth gameplay and replay value. The story mode took me around 10 hours to complete and I expect that trying for the Platinum would probably take me up to 30 or maybe even 40 hours. I don’t intend on getting it anytime soon, but I do want to buy all of the characters so we’ll see how close that gets me to the Platinum in that time frame. I already purchased all of the stages so characters are definitely next.

Okay, lets get back to the gameplay. It’s a 3D fighting game like DBZ. You can attack your opponents with quick attacks, power moves, or energy blasts. You can string them together to make some fun combos and you also have burst moves, which are effectively special attacks. Charge up your meter enough and you can use a final smash. Most of them are a little too slow to be useful since you can just block them, but the Gold Saints get instant attacks, which are really handy. Naturally you can block, dash, teleport, jump, and more in addition to hand to hand action. None of the combos are too over the top so you don’t have to worry about dying after one mistake. Nevertheless, it is important that you know when to strike and when to evade. The story mode is fairly easy, but you’ll get your real challenge once you tackle the Galaxy Cups and Survival Mode. Those do not hold back at all.

The soundtrack is incredible and makes the game that much more epic. The actual theme selection is a little limited, but they are all good. They put you right in the battle and help to emphasize the high stakes that are at play. The graphics also look pretty good. They have that fun PS3 anime brawler look to them and the energy attacks are fun to watch. It’s not the kind of game that’s going to outshine Kingdom Hearts or Final Fantasy in the graphics department, but it is still all on point.

Aside from the main story mode, we also have the Gold Saints mode. You get to play as each Gold Saint in 3-4 battles. It’s mainly a way to see how they interact with each other after the drama in the main story mode. It’s a fun little adventure although some of the fights can be a little repetitive. The normal Story Mode was also a little repetitive with how every arc followed the same formula, but if it works….it works. Seeing the heroes split up and take out the villains will definitely be a lot of fun to see in the manga and the anime. The series kept on increasing the power levels to the point where it got pretty crazy. (In a good way)

As mentioned before, there is a whole lot of replay value here. By the end, this game will definitely be up there with some RPGs when it comes to length. Unlocking all of the characters is definitely my top priority and I already have all of the stages. I probably won’t bother with buying everything else for a little while, but I can see myself coming back to this title and earning more trophies at some point. I also got the PS3 version so I can go online and take some people down for the count as well. You have to love the PS3’s smooth online, the other companies could learn a few things from them.

Overall, Saint Seiya Soldier’s Soul is a great fighting game. The gameplay is fairly deep and there is even an equipment system that will add to the strategic element of the game. You won’t run out of things to do here and the character roster is very impressive. I believe that there are over 70 characters to be found here and almost as many stages. With all of the technical aspects like the graphics and soundtrack being good as well, there’s really nothing to dislike here. I would call it one of the best PS3 fighting games. On a pure gameplay level, I’d say that it is better than J Stars and it is certainly a better overall game than PS All Stars. I have to still give Raging Blast and Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm the edge though. It’s definitely a must buy for any fighting game fan and I hope that more series get to have a big budget fighting game like this one. I think Bleach has earned a chance by now.

Overall 9/10

Knights of The Zodiac

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I’ve finally started this legendary classic! I consider Knights of The Zodiac to be the final Big manga title left that I had not started. This series can be mentioned in the same sentence as DBZ…that’s how good it is. I’m anticipating a 9 star series, anything less would be a disappointment. That’s how bold this series is. I look forward to seeing if Gemini Saga lives up to the hype. I shall review this series when I finish it…at some point.

Overall 8/10

J-Stars Victory Vs+ Review

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This is a game that was definitely unlikely to come to America when it first came out. If this had arrived just a few years earlier, I’m confident that it never would have made the trip to the USA. Luckily, we’re starting to get better with licensing anime fighters like this one thanks to the power of leaving their voices in Japanese. It’s a trade off that I’m definitely willing to make and I’m sure that many anime fans actually prefer it this way. The crossover is as great as you could expect!

There actually is a Story Mode in this game. Essentially, all of the various Shonen Jump manga series actually take place on an incredibly large planet called Jump World. Before you start the story, you can choose to play as Luffy, Toriko, Naruto, or Ichigo. Depending on who you pick will determine which characters you meet along your quest to enter the legendary tournament and prove your superiority to the rest of the cast. Along the way, you can help other characters through quests and recruit some strong fighters to your team. Once you complete the tournament, the real villains appear and they aren’t here to have tea!

I mentioned that this was a crossover already, but I should explain a little more about how extensive it is. Just like how Super Smash Bros crossovered characters from the many Nintendo franchises, Playstation All Stars Battle Royale did the same for Sony’s fighters, Marvel vs Capcom brought together characters from their companies, and Justice League vs Mortal Kombat did a nice mixup, J-Stars Victory Vs did the same thing. There are 39 playable characters from 24 different series. Coincidentally…or not, Super Smash Bros for Wii U also represents 24 different series thanks to the inclusion of Ryu from Street Fighter. Super Smash Bros does have over 10 extra characters to J-Stars, but this is just the beginning for the J-Stars franchise and we can look forward to more sequels at some point. Video Game Crossovers are always a lot of fun and as I’m a fairly huge Shonen Jump fan who has read several of the series, I can definitely appreciate the interactions. I’ve read 12 of the 24 series that are in J-Stars so I definitely know a lot about more of the characters.

Also, you heard me right. There are actually a lot of interactions and a fairly deep plot in story mode. This is something that quite a few of the other crossovers that I mentioned lack like the new Super Smash Bros and MVC3. It was great that the game added the story mode as it adds more enjoyment to any title. I completed Luffy’s Story Mode and aim to do the other 3 at some point in the near future. I decided to do one story mode, then complete another game, and rinse/repeat the process until all 4 are done.

Aside from Story Mode, there are quite a lot of other things to do here. There’s an Arcade Mode that you can play to test your skills. Completing it doesn’t seem to actually unlock anything as far as I know, but it’s a great way to earn money and may be even more effective than Story Mode at that. There’s also a mode titled Victory Road, which is basically an Arcade Mode that is more mission based. There seem to be quite a few levels to complete here, but an incentive is that you will get 3 trophies as you complete it. That’s not a bad deal!

Those 3 modes alone should already take you many hours to complete. This is no short game by any stretch of the imagination. The replay value is essentially limitless as the gameplay is a lot of fun so you can enjoy many matches in local multiplayer or through online. Trying to nab the Platinum will also extend the journey a little. It’s not too much of a grind though and it’s not unreasonable either. It will force you to really experience the Story Mode as you will have to complete several extra quests and fight more ships than you would have otherwise. You will also need to complete all Victory Road battles along the way. The Platinum is worth the effort though since it’s the ultimate bragging right as far as the PS3 trophies are concerned.

Now, it’s about time that I talk about the actual gameplay right? It’s a 3D brawler and you have to defeat your opponent a certain amount of times in order to win the match. You can do a 1 on 1 battle or go up to 4 on 4 at a time. 1 on 1 is probably the most direct, but 4 on 4 can be quite epic since so many things are happening at once. You have standard attacks as well as power ones and special abilities. You can use the R1 button to block or mix it with the other attacks for even more techniques. You really have a lot of attack options, but you will most likely find yourself sticking to one or two favorite combos after a while. I’ve been playing as Luffy a lot so I go with his rapid fist option all of the time.

Once your team has gotten enough encouragement, they will be ready to go into their Victory Modes. At that point, you can use your Final Smash to attack the opponents. Even if you are a team of 4, you will only control 1 character. The other 2 will be helping out as A.I. allies and one character can be used as a support fighter like in Marvel vs Capcom 3. I felt like a lot of effort went into the gameplay because each character feels like he/she did in their own games. I can really only speak for Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece, because I haven’t really played modern games for most of the other franchises. Naruto’s combos feel like they did in Ninja Storm, while Goku’s combos seem to be straight from the BT series. Even Ichigo’s attacks feel like they did in Soul Resurrection. This way, you know what you are doing with your favorite character right off the bat if you had already played that character’s game earlier.

The soundtrack is naturally very good as it uses music from all of the various SJ titles. You can even choose which music theme you want to play for when you activate your Victory Burst. The large variety of themes is a lot of fun and most of the series get their own stage as well. My favorite is probably the Athena one with my least favorite being the Bleach stage. It’s unfortunate, but there are just too many walls to navigate around if you ask me. The graphics are solid and you can easily tell who’s who. The manga effect isn’t quite as smooth as it is for the Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm series, but it’s still good and effective at evoking that manga effect that the game is going for. Nothing beats looking at the Kamehameha wave..unless it’s being tossed at you!

Now, we have to compare the game to Super Smash Bros for a minute here. Super Smash Bros does win the battle in terms of soundtrack, graphics, gameplay, and replay value, but J-Stars takes it down when it comes to the story mode aspect since Super Smash Bros surrendered that. Taking one win against the ultimate video game is still some good bragging rights though and I look forward to seeing what J-Stars has up its sleeve for the sequel.

Overall, J-Stars Victory Vs+ was a lot of fun. It’s still amazing that the game actually managed to come out in America. This is certainly worth purchasing and there’s enough content to last you here for quite a while. I’m still working on getting the Platinum on the side so you can expect an update for this game at some point. As a big Shonen Jump fan, I can do no less! I eagerly await a sequel for this game and wonder which other characters will be added to the fray. Hopefully we can get around 60 playable characters next time so each franchise can have more reps. This is easily one of the best PS3 games on the block so you need to purchase it as soon as possible!

Overall 9/10